Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Inside of Tom Vander Ark's Head is a Weird Place

Vander Ark:

David Brooks is, at least for me, the great explainer of our times. Fareed Zakaria helps me understand the world. Brooks helps me understand America.

Wow. Really? That would explain a lot I guess. But Brooks, really? You've been a leading figure in national school reform, particularly urban school reform, for a decade, and you look to an expert on the tastes of yuppies and suburbanites to explain America? OK, dude. Weird.


Do the right thing locally. All education is local--at least in America. Perhaps the most important thing each of us can do is to support aggressive gap-closing school improvement efforts in our own neighborhood. Support a charter school or a mentoring program. Get involved in a school board race.

Who is this addressed at exactly? Apparently bobo me, since I actually live in a mixed(mostly low)-income urban neighborhood, but I doubt a very high percentage of HuffPost readers fit that profile. Even so, the charter school in my neighborhood is doing fine, but it isn't really my neighborhood's charter school, and any time spent helping out there is likely to be offset by the bitter taste of my daughters' eventual loss in the great kindergarten lottery. And with Providence's system of mayoral control over the schools, and imported autocratic superintendent and rubber-stamp board, there isn't much to be done for our neighborhood's small public high schools, created with help from Vander Ark's Gates money, now slipping away...

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